The Pharmacists’ Defence Association director Paul Day has said he hopes Aurelius will invest in LloydsPharmacy to improve branches and not resort to cutbacks and closures once its takeover of the company has been completed.
A deal worth £477m that was agreed between Aurelius and LloydsPharmacy owner McKesson Corporation yesterday will see the pharmacy chain, AAH, digital repeat prescription service LloydsDirect, LloydsPharmacy Clinical Homecare, LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor, MASTA and John Bell & Croydon pharmacy sold to the private equity group.
The PDA secured union recognition of pharmacists working at LloydsPharmacy earlier this year and stressed that arrangement will continue after the deal has been completed, insisting “there will be no change to the recognition agreement".
LloydsPharmacy has endured a tough time since government funding cuts were imposed in December 2015 and reported a record £175m loss in 2019-20. The multiple closed 190 branches four years ago, blaming the cuts and increasing business rates.
Mr Day (pictured) said he hoped the announcement of LloydsPharmacy’s sale would “bring more certainty about the future of the business” and result in fresh investment from the new owners. He said the PDA was willing to work with Aurelius to improve the quality of LloydsPharmacy branches.
“Pharmacists employed by McKesson UK companies are an incredible asset to the new owners, and we encourage them to invest in pharmacy and realise the value in utilising their workforce to its full potential as the most available part of the NHS, embedded in the heart of the community,” he said.
“The nature of acquisitions is that the purchasers believe they can get extra value from the business and the fear of acquisitions, especially by private equity is that this is attempted through cuts and closures.
“However, an alternative strategy is to invest and improve and the PDA hopes to work positively with LloydsPharmacy management to improve the operations of LloydsPharmacy so that well-resourced, well-managed branches can bring Aurelius the profits they need while simultaneously improving the experience of pharmacists and patients.”
Mr Day said the PDA will continue to support pharmacists at LloydsPharmacy whether it is “part of the McKesson group or as a standalone business owned by Aurelius.”